The Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association is organizing opposition to Crystal River conditional storage rights

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From the Glenwood Springs Post Independent (Janet Urquhart):

The Crystal Valley Environmental Protection Association (CVEPA) has asked both [Pitkin] county commissioners and the county’s Healthy Rivers and Streams Board to oppose the conditional water rights. The Crystal River Caucus has joined in that call, according to Redstone resident Bill Jochems, a member of both the CVEPA board and the county rivers and streams board…

The Glenwood-based Colorado River Water Conservation District holds the conditional water rights on behalf of the West Divide Water Conservancy District. The rights, decreed in the 1950s, are the basis for two proposed water storage projects on the Crystal that were authorized by Congress in the mid-1960s but never built. The West Divide Project water rights must be reauthorized in Colorado Water Court every six years. In May, the holders of the water rights must show diligence, or continued progress on the project, in order to keep the water rights alive. The Crystal River groups have asked the county to challenge the validity of the rights. “Nothing has been done on the ground for 54 years,” said Jochems. Progress has been limited to studying the options, he added…

The conditional water rights allow for the proposed Osgood Reservoir, which would impound nearly 129,000 acre feet of water, flooding the town of Redstone, Redstone Castle and several subdivisions, CVEPA said. Also envisioned is the Placita Reservoir south of Redstone, which would impound about 62,000 acre feet of water. For the sake of comparison, Ruedi Reservoir on the Fryingpan River, east of Basalt, holds 140,000 acre feet of water, CVEPA noted in its letter to county officials. “We do not think anyone takes these proposed reservoirs seriously, yet they threaten to deny designation of the Crystal River as a Wild and Scenic River and cost the taxpayers money as they continue to be defended,” the letter states.

With no dams or significant diversions on the Crystal currently, advocates would like to see it further protected by the federal Wild and Scenic River designation. The upper Crystal River Valley is nestled between the Raggeds and Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness areas to the east of Marble. The Crystal River flows into the Roaring Fork River at Carbondale.

More Crystal River watershed coverage here and here.

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